The purpose of Focused Conversation: Values & Decision-Making is to help a collective or group come to consensus on and more clearly define their core values through articulating actions that demonstrate how they practice it.
The outcomes of Focused Conversation: Values & Decision-Making are:
The larger goal of Focused Conversation: Values & Decision-Making is to cultivate deep, lasting commitments from the collective or group on their core values, so that navigating work plans, budgets, deadlines, and conflicts becomes an expression of the group’s core values.
Some Things To Know
They can be facilitated virtually or in-person, and embrace a peer-based, multi-disciplinary creative approach.
This is a sample agenda for Focused Conversation: Values and Decision-Making. When you book this service, an agenda for your specific Focused Conversation will be created in Google Docs and shared with you.
A Focused Conversation: Values & Decision-Making is best used with groups of 8 or less. The cost for 8 people or less is $1500.
If a Focused Conversation: Values & Decision-Making is needed for a group of 9 to 18 people, an additional hour is needed and an additional facilitator is required. The cost for a group of 9-18 people is $5000 and includes all of the above.
If a Focused Conversation: Values & Decision-Making is needed for a group of 20 or more, more time will need to be allocated and additional facilitators are required. The cost of this depends on different factors, and we can discuss more during an Intake Call.
We believe practicing them includes defining, talking story about, studying, and acting on them. Read our definitions and find an additional resource below. To read story about each, visit Bold Type.
When we say Anti-Racist, we mean “working to abolish White Supremacy.” A resource: To learn more about how to divorce yourself from White Supremacy Culture, check out this great resource by Tema Okun: https://www.whitesupremacyculture.info.
When we say Anti-Capitalist, we mean “working to abolish exploitation & extraction.” Resource: To learn more about killing capitalism, listen to the excellent podcast Millennials Are Killing Capitalism.
When we say Anti-Binary, we mean “working to abolish gender-based roles & violence & hierarchies.” Resource: To start questioning one of the most toxic binaries, check out Kate Bornstein’s My Gender Workbook.
When we say Anti-Normal, we mean “working to abolish conformity & ableism & mental health stigma.” Resource: To begin your path towards Disability Justice, please check out Disability Visibility Project by Alice Wong and Sins Invalid.
When we say Anti-Fascist, we mean “working to abolish punishment & domination & control.” Resource: To learn more about the connections between domestic and foreign policy fascism, check out this conversation between Nick Estes from The Red Nation and Arundhati Roy about her book Azadi, Freedom, Fascism, Fiction hosted by Haymarket Books.
When we say Anti-Shame, we mean “working to abolish sin & guilt & penance & othering.” Resource: To liberate yourself from political shame, please check out The Red Deal by The Red Nation.
The Queerly Complex Method of Listening for Deep Connection has been developed, refined, and honed over two decades of practice by Jason Wyman. It draws from pedagogies of appreciative inquiry, question circles, participatory action research, active listening, and bearing witness.
The Queerly Complex Method of Listening for Deep Connection is evolving and will continue to both expand and be edited. This is and will always be a work-in-progress.
When listening for connection, it is important to always begin with the mantra, "I don't know." This places you, the listener, in a space of curiosity and openness rather than in a role of expert. Yes, you may be an expert in your field and have a wealth of knowledge. To listen deeply requires the humility to know your wealth may have no value to whom you are listening. And if you want to listen, maybe setting aside what you think you know and embracing the Unknown will help you see, hear, and witness what's truly being said, instead of what you want, need, or desire to hear.
I am an artist, and while I value coaches and therapists, I am not one. I most certainly am not qualified to judge someone, either. What I can offer is to be your champion and cheerleader.
Too often, when we share something instead of a champion or cheerleader, we get a critic. The critic can be helpful at times, but often is a hindrance when trying to figure something out, trying something new, or examining your ways of being. The critic silences inquiry and introspection.
A champion or cheerleader, instead, offers encouragement through the process of inquiry and introspection because the listener knows this process is already fraught with self doubt / self sabotage and major structural inequities. Just being in this process is reason enough to celebrate and cheer.
When I listen for connection, I am there to be your champion and cheerleader so you build more trust and confidence in your self, your own knowledge, and your own way of being. I am not listening to promote my way of seeing / experiencing the world. I am there listening at your request because you want to better understand how you experience the world.
And I am here to celebrate, honor, lift up, and champion you on this journey.
The art of listening is the art of searching for understanding and meaning-making. Humans naturally want to better understand our world by making-meaning out of our lived experience. This can become a vicious feedback loop in which our understanding influences our experience which reinforces how we make meaning out of those experiences and in turn affirms our preconceived (aka previously held) understanding.
When I listen for connection, I am listening not just to what is being stated, I am listening for their understanding of this cosmos and their place in it and how they make meaning out of their lived experiences and positionality. By listening for what's beyond the surface, I can offer better questions that can disrupt or upend patterns of belief that may be getting in the way of better understanding what's truly being said in the moment.
Additionally, listening requires watching for body language because more is being said than simply words. It is important to remember that tone and qualities of voice are also a part of the body, and as a result the speaker might not be fully aware of how their voice is revealing something other than what they are stating.
As listeners, it is important that we do not read into understanding, meaning-making, or body language. Rather, our role is to be humble and uncertain in what we are experiencing and witnessing. Minimizing our personal reactions to qualities of body language that might seem peculiar, out-of-the-ordinary, or reactive to us is crucial in being a good listener.
Instead of reacting, we should be able to respond with openness, curiosity, and a willingness to be wrong. This means doing the work necessary on our selves to be able to notice our patterns of behavior that serve to shut down conversation and interrupting them when they, inevitably, show up.
As you are listening, frequently repeat back what you think you hear. Preface this by stating, "What I think I heard you say was, ...," and then end with, "Is that correct? Or is there anything that should be edited?"
There can be disconnects between what someone thinks they said and what someone thinks they heard. These disconnections are natural, but they often go unnamed, especially early on. This becomes a major problem in listening for deeper connection because the moment what you think you are hearing disconnects from what the speaker thinks they are saying, you disconnect from the speaker's reality. The longer you go in different directions the harder it will be to find commonality in understanding.
This can easily be remedied by checking in with the speaker and confirming with them about what you think you heard or observed regularly throughout the conversation. Doing this also invites opportunities for the speaker to have their own ah-ha moments or even discover questions they need to ask themselves.
Repeating back is a very useful tool for discernment, yours and the speaker's. You are discerning whether or not your interpretation of the conversation is accurate, and, therefore, to what extent your bias is coloring your view of what it is the speaker is saying. The speaker is discerning whether you are receiving what they are sharing accurately, and, therefore, whether or not they are communicating effectively. It is a process of interrupting possible bias and assumptions from destroying trust in each other and one's self.
Instead of offering advice, offer stories of connection between what's been repeated back and other's experiences. This includes referencing authors or books you've read, videos or performances you've watched, podcasts or music you've listened to, etc. It also includes sharing stories of your own lived experience that in some way offer an intersectional or divergent perspective on what's already been discussed.
The goal here is not to convince the speaker of something but to offer opportunities for the speaker to accept, reject, adapt, or integrate the stories and connections you shared free of your judgment on their importance, necessity, or helpfulness. Yes, you have opinions and interpretations, and that is what you are sharing here. It is also true that those things are insignificant to the speaker outside of how important they are to the speaker. And it is not your place to tell them what is important.
See Tip #1. Even when you think you know and you think you have clarity between one another and you think you see a connection, tell yourself, "I don't know."
This mantra is the most central tenet in listening for deep connections because the body and all of its various parts and pieces that work independently and interdependently with each other come with biases that color how we experience, and thus interpret, this world and this cosmos. By staying friends with the Unknown and letting go of certainty, we become ready to witness truths that come from deeper within our DNA and cut through the generations of human superiority complex that has placed us and our gods on top of the cosmological pyramid.
Always and in all ways returning to the Unknown reshapes your entire cosmos; it places you in uncertainty, making you ready for anything.
Queerly Complex understands that life happens, things come up, and there can be unexpected emergencies. We also know that people change their mind on what kinds of support they need, want, and desire. We seek to be flexible and understanding while also firm in our value.
To that end, here is our cancellation policy for Focused Conversations.
If the Facilitated Conversation needs to be rescheduled, at least one week's notice must be given. One attempt will be made to reschedule. If a date cannot be found that is amenable to both parties, the Facilitated Conversation will not be rescheduled.
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